The Breath is vital for human life and powers all the functions of the body. It has an effect on each and every cell in the body. We as humans breath over 16 times per minute and over 20,000 per day. Through the breath all the cells of the body gain oxygen, which fuels the respiration of the cells burning glucose and creating energy. The breath is linked intimately to every process of the body.
Most people are not aware of the way they breath and breath incorrectly, only using a small percentage of their lung capacity, depriving the body and organs with vital life force that they could be gaining. By breathing in a rhythmic deep way, we are able to have a tremendous effect on ourselves, benefiting the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. We can calm and relax all aspects of the self. Yogis call this process of controlling and extending the breath Pranayama. Pran means ‘life force’ in Sanscrit and ‘ayama’ means to control or extend. The meaning of Pranayama is to extend and control the life force or qi.
Pranayama develops consistent breathing patterns which transforms the body and allows it to fully relax the body and mind. It reprograms the sub conscious mind and creates a link between what is normally fully unconscious with the conscious mind. Through the consistent practice of pranayama, energy trapped in the body can be harnessed to fully allow the individual to function on many levels.
One can immediately experience the benefits of the practice of pranayama by sitting quietly in a comfortable position. Then slowing the breath down and breathing deeply into the lungs. Doing this for about 5 minutes will have a profound effect.